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Privacy Guide

THIS IS A PROOF OF CONCEPT THAT IS STILL WORK IN PROGRESS, THE CONTENT OF THIS PAGE WILL SURELY END UP IN A DEDICATED WEB PAGE OUTSIDE OF THE WIKI

What?

This "guide" is just a big list of great software/providers to dig into, the idea is that this is the information I would like to have seen 4 years ago: me from 4 years ago just wanted a list of good things to dig into: this is a list of good things to dig into.

Threat model: This guide is focused on a specific threat model: avoiding Big Tech company, avoiding companies with ties to law enforcements/government agencies/governments (when possible), avoiding companies with double standard/bad privacy practices.

License: The content of this guide is released under the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 to everyone, except the current, past and future team members of privacyguides org and privacytools io (or any future domain owned/controlled/related by or to them), reuse is allowed following this license, as long as the content doesn't end up on privacyguides org, privacytools io (or any future domain owned/controlled/related by or to them) and any provider that isn't recommended in this guide.

Why?

This guide has been created because privacyguides org and privacytools io made awful decisions and have awful recommendations. There's also various internal issues at privacyguides org between their own team members.

Some examples of awful decisions I contested:

The "Do not use" category include things recommended by privacyguides org, that, as the name suggest, you shouldn't use.

Some community feedback about what privacyguides org has become:

More: https://teddit.pussthecat.org/r/PrivacyGuides/comments/rbv0uh/recent_updates_to_privacyguidesorg/

Requirements

  • All software must be open source no exception.
  • All providers mustn't be based in the Five Eyes - USA/Canada/Australia/United Kingdom/New Zealand - or Russia.
  • All providers shouldn't ideally be based in Switzerland (reason: Switzerland privacy died in 2018, they now basically have their own "NSA-like" agency, providers are just using "Switzerland" in their marketing because the country still has a reputation of being private - while it's not).
  • All providers must have open source clients (or use an open standard, like IMAP/POP3 for e-mail).
  • All providers should ideally have open source servers.
  • All providers mustn't be invite only (sorry RiseUp and cTemplar).

List

Providers

Cloud Storage

Use:

  • Your own self-hosted Nextcloud
  • Any provider supported by Rclone (and just encrypt with it) that isn't: a Big Tech company (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft...), in a Five Eyes country - USA, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand - (BackBlaze, Dropbox, Icedrive, Mega, Box, OpenDrive, Crashplan, Wasabi, pCloud, Rsync net, and more...) or in Russia (Yandex...).
  • Cryptee (Note: expensive, not audited, not supported by Rclone)
  • Filen (Note: really young, not audited, not supported by Rclone)

Do not use:

DNS Resolver

Use (if you use a VPN):

  • The one provider by your VPN provider

Use (if you don't use a VPN):

Do not use:

  • Cloudflare: it's Cloudflare.
  • NextDNS: USA-based
  • UncensoredDNS: Hobby project + No privacy policy.

Email provider

Resource: https://digdeeper.neocities.org/ghost/email.html

Use:

  • Posteo:
  • Custom domains NOT supported
  • Encryption at rest
  • 100% open source
  • Payment via cash, credit card (anonymised), bank transfer (anonymised) or PayPal (anonymised)
  • Mailbox:
  • Custom domains supported
  • Encryption at rest
  • 100% closed source
  • Payment via cash, cash payment to bank account, credit card (not anonymised) or PayPal (not anonymised), bank transfer (not anonymised)
  • Runbox:
  • Custom domains supported
  • No encryption at rest
  • Server code is closed source, most of the client code is open source
  • Payment via Bitcoin, cash, credit card (not anonymised), bank transfer (not anonymised)
  • Requires a real first and last name - however they won't actually check if it's real (unless you abuse their service), you should use your real name if possible, because not doing so is technically against their ToS. Email conversation I had with them about it: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Tutanota:
  • Custom domains supported
  • Encryption at rest
  • Server code is closed source
  • Payment via credit card (not anonymised), PayPal (not anonymised), Bitcoin (through their official reseller) or Monero (through their official reseller)
  • NO IMAP/POP3, using their open source client (or web UI) is mandatory
  • Disroot:
  • Custom domains supported
  • No encryption at rest
  • 100% open source
  • Payment via Bitcoin, FairCoin, credit card (not anonymised), bank transfer (not anonymised), Patreon (not anonymised) or PayPal (not anonymised).
  • Hobby Project but should last (I still wouldn't recommended it as a main provider)

Do not use:

Search Engines

Use:

Do not use:

  • Anything else (including Whoogle, that is just SearX but worse)

Social Networks

Social networks are fundamentaly not private by design, but if you have to use one, follow this list:

Use:

  • Any Fediverse-compatible project (Mastodon, diaspora*, Friendica, GNU social, Pleroma, Pixelfed...)
  • Lemmy (Note: Projects owners/creators are heavily politically biased and use Lemmy to "push" their political opinions)

Do not use:

  • Anything else

Social News Aggregator

Use:

  • RSS

Do not use:

  • Anything else

VPN

Note: A good rules is to avoid any VPN that has referals and/or advertise and/or do fake "time limited" sales (basically 99% of them).

Use:

Do not use:

Software

Web Browser

Use:

Do not use:

  • Tor Browser: it's a browser made for anonimity, not privacy

Operating Systems

PC

Use:

  • Any FOSS GNU/Linux distribution (except anything Ubuntu-based (that isn't Linux Mint) and Manjaro)
  • Any FOSS BSD distrubution

Do not use:

  • Anything Ubuntu-based (that isn't Linux Mint): Made by Cannonical, a company that created and "push" the use of Snap, a "packaging system" that requires connecting to their own closed source server, and used to include advertising for Amazon.

  • Manjaro: Sketchy, amateurish distro, awful security practice (keep packages on hold for 2 weeks "testing purposes" but no test is actually done), fired their treasurer because he dug too much into the finances and so much more. (More: https://github.com/arindas/manjarno - Luke Smith's video about it: Invidious / Odysee / PeerTube).

Mobile

Use:

Do not use:

  • Any rom that ship with MicroG (CalyxOS...): MicroG is pointless and encourage the use of spyware, just stick to open source software

Calendar and Contact Sync

Use:

  • EteSync
  • CalDAV/CarDAV (No client side encryption)

Notebooks

Use:

Do not use:

  • Standard Notes: Overly corporate, requires a subscription (so requires an account) on their platform to do basic things (like installing "editors": "An active subscription is required to access advanced features such as editors."), markdown support is only available through a "custom editor", and therefore requires a subscription.

Email Clients

PC

Use:

Do not use:

-Anything else

Mobile

Use:

Do not use:

  • Anything else

File Encryption Software

Use:

Do not use:

  • Cryptomator: Android client is closed source and paid

File Sharing

Use:

Do not use:

  • Anything else

Metadata Removal Tools

PC

Use:

  • ExifCleaner
  • Exiftools or anything supporting it (imagemagick for example)

Do not use:

  • Anything else
Mobile

Use:

Do not use:

  • Anything else

Password Managers

Use:

  • Vaultwarden (You can also use Bitwarden itself to support its development, but it's not as simple to deploy)
  • KeePassXC (Android client: KeePassDX)

Do not use:

  • Anything else

Pastebin

Use:

Instant Messengers

Use:

  • XMPP (Note: not really user friendly, OMEMO encryption with multiple devices on one account is "weird" and sometimes will only make messages apear on one devices)
  • Matrix (Note: more user friendly than XMPP, easy encryption with multiple devices, but worse clients, more metadata leakages, heavier server and more minor to major issues)
  • Briar (Note: Anonymous, P2P, TOR based, ideal for anonymous communication)
  • Session (Note: Anonymous, Lokinet based, ideal for anonymous communication)

Do not use:

Video/Voice chat

Use: